Saturday, November 25, 2017

Truex and Toyota are #NASCAR Cup Champs

Truex and Toyota are NASCAR Cup ChampsMartin Truex Jr. capped a career-best season with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver’s championship Sunday, giving Toyota both the driver’s and manufacturer’s championship to conclude its 2017 campaign.

Truex and Toyota are #NASCAR Cup Champs

Truex had to fend off fellow Toyota driver and title hopeful Kyle Busch to win the championship with the Camry drivers finishing in first and second place in the season finale to decide the title.

“I can’t event believe it,” said Truex in an emotional victory lane ceremony. “I can’t believe we got the lead. I can’t believe we kept it. We weren’t the best car all day long. The 4 (Kevin Harvick) and the 18 (Kyle Busch) were both better on the long run all day long. I just had to find something at the end and luckily was able to find a lane that was really good for my car, but also bad for them behind me and just worked out.”

Truex and Toyota are #NASCAR Cup Champs

After the race’s final restart, Truex first had to fend off Harvick in the closing laps before Busch surged from fourth to second, where he settled in behind Truex to stalk the race leader. However, with Truex changing lanes to find speed and block, and with Busch’s tires wearing, the second-place finisher was unable to muster the speed to make a pass on Truex. 

“This whole year has been a dream year,” said Truex. “It’s been meant to be all year long. We’ve got the team best in the world. I’m so thankful for them … Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and everybody that puts so much into this. I’m just unbelievably proud and thanks to everybody at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) for the chassis and cooperation and running one-two tonight was pretty awesome.”

Truex’s title is the second driver’s championship for Toyota after Busch won his in 2015. The finale victory also gave Toyota its second-consecutive Cup Series manufacturer’s title after Toyota swept all three manufacturer’s championships in 2016.

Truex, who was twice a NASCAR XFINITY Series champion (2004-05), won a career-high eight races this season to capture the title and set records in the process. In 2017, Truex set records for total wins at 1.5-mile tracks with seven, including the season finale at Homestead, and for consecutive wins on 1.5-milers with four.

The title was also won after Truex’s Denver-based Furniture Row Racing team overcame multiple tribulations away from the track. Truex’s longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex had surgery following a recurrence of cancer in July while crew chief Cole Pearn had a close friend unexpectedly pass during the season and the team also lost a crew member in October. Most recently, team owner Barney Visser had an unplanned heart bypass surgery that resulted in the principal missing the finale.

“It’s just overwhelming,” said Truex. “To think about all the rough days and bad days, the days that we couldn’t run 20th [and] to be here, I never thought this day would come and to be here is so unbelievable.”

Truex and Toyota are #NASCAR Cup Champs

Toyota also won the 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver’s and manufacturer’s championships. Tundra driver Christopher Bell secured both championships with a second-place finish for Kyle Busch Motorsports at Homestead.

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